On January 23 more than 2,000 Bernie Sanders supporters marched from Daley Plaza to the Chicago Board of Trade. Many more thousands turned out for the #March4Bernie in more than 35 U.S. cities. 

“The billionaire class and their representatives in Washington are so powerful that the best president in the world cannot defeat them alone,” said Bernie Sanders at a rally in Minneapolis last June. “We need a mass movement of millions of people.”

Taking their cue from the presidential candidate, on January 23 many thousands of supporters turned out for a #March4Bernie in more than 35 U.S. cities.

In Chicago, where much of the outrage against corporate-backed  Democrats has been focused on Mayor Rahm Emanuel, more than 2,000 Sanders supporters marched from Daley Plaza to the Chicago Board of Trade. Many of the marchers carried signs demanding Emanuel's resignation. Activists have alleged a city-wide cover-up of the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Speakers at the march were undaunted by the claim that Hillary Clinton is needed to defeat a Republican candidate in the general election. “The media is using the threat of Donald Trump to get us to stop fighting,” said Darletta Scruggs of Chicago Socialist Alternative. “As a single working mother, the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency scares me. But the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency scares me as well, because the same corporations and banks that donate to the Republican Party are donating to her campaign. She is a candidate of millionaires, not working people.

“We won’t let the Republicans win,” Scruggs said. “We don’t need Hillary to beat them. We will beat them together by building a movement of people organizing in our communities.”

America's biggest problems are not caused by black people, Muslims, immigrants, or the LGBTQ community, Scruggs said. “It’s the billionaire class and Wall Street that are creating poverty and inequality. And it’s the politicians that they buy and trade like Pokémon cards — the Rahm Immanuels and Hillary Clintons — who are advancing their agenda.”

For the presidential primary, it remains to be seen whether the mass movement in support of Sander’s agenda will be enough to overpower Hillary Clinton’s corporate backing and a Democratic Party establishment that is focused on politics as usual. But the movement to fundamentally transform the U.S. political system is still gathering momentum. Upcoming marches for Bernie are being organized in more cities, including Minnesota, Cincinnati, and Columbus.

“Bernie Sanders has proven that we can build a new political party for the 99% that refuses corporate money and fights for real issues, like a $15 minimum wage, police accountability, reproductive rights for women, and an end to mass deportations,” Scruggs said. “We can fight back and win!”

Scenes from the January 23 March for Bernie in Chicago.